I recently moved to Toronto from Montreal, so I’m all about obsessing over things that Toronto has that Montreal does not: baseball, hot dog stands, the CN Tower, doctors, garbage day, paved streets, water… I don’t know when to arrêt! Is there even an English word for that? Your city is so bountiful and organized that even your crack dealers seem to have serious social media skills and long-term life goals. Montrealers have always thought of Torontonians as a super uptight and serious folk, but your totally casual attitude towards crack-cocaine has changed my perspective. Maybe it’s we Montrealers who are the uptight ones, right? Because if someone ever asked me if I smoked crack, I’d just be like, “Um, no,” and not all “Anything else?”


One of my favourite things about living here is all the local beauty and grooming brands that I’ve become obsessed with, simply because it seems environmental or something to source locally. Or is that a food trend? I can never remember! Either way, these Toronto beauty and grooming brands make me proud to be a new member of the Lords of Hogtown…

Crawford Street Skincare
I used to think organic deodorants were a farce, until one day a friend of mine with sensitive skin borrowed my drugstore brand and it was suddenly a horrific scene from My Girl all up in her armpit. I have a soft spot for Crawford Street Skincare, not just because I live off of Crawford and they could easily walk to my apartment to send me a thank-you basket for this article, but because it’s fair trade and organic, and buying organic products makes me feel like I’m better than other people. Their lemon deodorant cream ($12) is their best-seller, but I’m all about their Frankincense and Myrrh Hand Cream ($17), which is perfect for displaying in your powder room to impress the kind of dinner party guests who try to “out organic” everyone else. If you can roast your own coffee beans in the oven while they’re over, you’ll really get under their organically-hydrated skin.

Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide - View the VIBE's Christmas Gift Ideas for Him and Her - Toronto.

Cake Beauty
If you are a fan of VeryMaryKate.com, then you know that smelling a cake is, like, waaaaay better than actually eating one! Right now, I’m all about this limited edition Sweethearts line by Toronto skin care brand Cake Beauty that smells like you’ve been baking something delicious with vanilla but without all the calories or possibility of setting things on fire. Cake Beauty founder Heather Reier actually started the line years ago in her kitchen, simply by mixing almost all natural ingredients together, like butters and oils, and seeing what worked and what didn’t. The last time I tried to do that, I accidentally deep-fried cinnamon sticks. They were delicious.

Rebels Refinery
Men of Toronto: meet your new favourite skincare line. I’m having erotic Daniel Day-Lewis fantasies just beholding the sexy packaging. A group of four friends from Toronto created this approximately 97% natural line of skincare products, which includes affordable items that guys should be using every day like a $13 facial cleanser and a $15 under eye treatment. A portion of the proceeds from sales go to prostate cancer foundations, so maybe you can just buy the “Essential Rebels Kit” for $57 instead of terrifying us ladies with your date-rape-y mustaches in “Movember.” How would you like it if we initiated “Janu-HAIRY” and stopped doin’ our thang for a month in honour of Ovarian Cancer? Be warned: This is a threat.

Bite Beauty
If you ever tried to rock a bright red lipstick overtop seriously chapped lips, you know that you wind up looking like you Vaseline’d your lips and dipped them in a pile of red chai loose leave tea. Bite Beauty makes the best all-natural lip care products for fighting dry lips with a hot dose of colour. My favourite is the Toronto brand’s Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil, which is 99.9% natural and tastes exactly like the spice it’s made with to add a little flavour to those erotic faces it’s so fun to make at strangers on the street car ride to work in the morning. Oh Toronto, je t’aime!